Graduation rates up in Syracuse and all ‘Big 5’ school districts

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Graduation rates were up across the board in 2020 for schools in the “Big 5” city school districts that incude New York City, Yonkers, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.

According to the New York State Education Department, the 2016 Cohort, or students who entered ninth grade in 2016 saw its graduation rate increase by 6.2 % over the previous class.

The Syracuse School district says that is the highest graduation rate since the state started the current method of keeping records in the 2002-2003 school year.

The district also reported gains in graduation rates for students who are English language Learners at 58.1%, which is 20% higher than last year. The district’s career and technical education program saw a 91.4% graduation rate.

Here’s the breakdown provided by ethnicity from the state education department.

“Our Class of 2020 faced unprecedented challenges last year due to COVID-19 impacting their educational experience,” Superintendent Jaime Alicea said. “Despite those challenges, our students persevered – and excelled – achieving the highest graduation rate our district has seen in recent memory. I am exceptionally proud of the hard work and dedication of both our students and staff. As we continue to navigate through this unique educational environment, this data motivates us to continue pushing our students and ourselves to achieve our best. We will continue working to help every student cross the stage and earn their high school diploma, and I look forward to seeing the continued progress we will make together in the Syracuse City School District.”

The state education department has a complete look at the Big 5 in a PowerPoint presentation.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic schools were ordered closed, Regents exams, which are required, were dropped last year. In its release, the education department said “The Regents Exam exemptions were a factor in the increase in the 2016 Cohort graduation rate; however, the Department cannot say to what extent. In addition, the 2020 exemptions will affect 2017 and 2018 Cohort students as well. The Department continues to review the data to determine the full effects of the Regents Exam exemptions.”

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